The Liberia WASH Consortium (LWC) was launched in 2007 and it quickly established itself as one of the two leaders, along with UNICEF, for addressing Liberian WASH challenges. The Consortium effectively engaged donor representatives, government officials and other NGOs in policy discussions, strategic planning, and learning events, apart from delivering improved WASH services in a complex environment. The LWC remains a key actor in the sector, as evidenced by its recent success promoting policy reform (2015 – 2018).
The current project; Strengthening Sustainability in Schools and Communities, involving three (3) other members of LWC (Action Against Hunger, Concern Worldwide and Water Aid), aims at researching the different immediate and underlying causes of the high rates of child stunting in Liberia: 35.5% at national level, with peaks of 41% in Grand Bassa and 38% in River Cess. The results of this Barrier Analysis (BA), along with Nutritional Causal Analysis and Cost of Diet results will inform the development of a Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) framework that will be developed and promoted for adoption across future and current programmes.
The BA study sought to identify the factors preventing the priority groups (people who are supposed to practice the behaviour) from adopting key behaviours, as well as identifying the enablers facilitating the adoption of those behaviours. Discussions with the consortium partners settled on six priority behaviours around water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH), health and nutrition sectors. These included (1) exclusive breastfeeding, (2) minimum dietary diversity (3) handwashing (4) use of modern family planning (5) use of latrines and (6) safe water storage all relevant to the programmes the partners are currently implementing in their areas of operations.
The exercise included a five (5) day training: three (3) days classroom training, one (1) day field test and one (1) day analysis of data collected during the pilot involving 22 enumerators preparing the team for the 18 days data collection and analysis exercise. Twenty of the 22 enumerators were selected for the actual data collection and were divided in 2 teams one covering Rural Montserrado and Grand Cape Mount counties while the second covered Sinoe, Rivercess and Grand Bassa counties. Aside from Grand Cape Mount, which was assessed for all the six behaviours, in all the other counties, three of the six behaviours were studied.
During the survey, 1,732 interviews were conducted with different groups of doers (those practicing the behaviour) and non-doers (those not practising) who included mothers of children under five years, mothers of children 6-12 months and women of child bearing age (15-49 years) on different behaviours. A summary of interviews in each county is shown in table 1 below.